Retargeter Blog

The Importance of Rotating Creatives

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One of the key best practices for retargeting is rotating the ads you show your retargeted users.  Retargeting’s greatest strength is its ability to keep your brand top of mind as your users browse the web.  However, retargeted ads become significantly less effective if you serve up the same ad creative month after month.

Here in the online advertising world, we often bring up “banner blindness.”  Much maligned by display advertisers everywhere, banner blindness is one form of a well-documented psychological phenomenon known as inattentional blindness.  Inattentional blindness refers to the tendency of failing to see an object that is right in front of you, either because you are highly focused on another task, mentally overloaded by other stimuli, do not expect to see the object, or because the object is insufficiently conspicuous.  This human tendency presents a particular challenge for online advertising, as banner ads are often likely to fall victim to inattentional blindness for any of the aforementioned reasons.  Although we can’t control all these factors, such as focus or their mental workload, we can control conspicuity.

Many of the most important banner ad best practices focus on conspicuity.  Some examples include using bright, standout colors in your ads, using big buttons to make the ad look more clickable, and creating strong, concise calls to action.

To see strong click-through rates with retargeted ads, it is crucial to follow these guidelines, however it is more important to mix up creative with retargeted ads than with traditional or targeted ad buys.  If your users have been seeing the same ads for months, those ads are much more likely to blend into the background.  By switching up your creative, you offer something new and different to catch the user’s eye.  With targeted or traditional run of network ad buys, users are unlikely to see the same ad many times, but with retargeted ads this is guaranteed.  Thus, you can expect banner blindness to occur at a higher rate.  This makes rotating creative significantly more crucial for retargeting than for a targeted ad buy.

In our experience, we’ve found that performance does decrease when you fail to update creative, and we’ve put together a chart based on data from eleven of our clients’ campaigns.  After five months of running the same set of creatives, on average CTR falls by half –from an average of 0.21% to an average of 0.12%

We advise all our clients to rotate their creatives every three to four months, and we also practice what we preach—we introduce new creatives into our rotation every few months as well.  Recently, we rolled out a new ad group focused on making our clients look bigger than their spend.  After their launch, we saw click-through rates increase to 0.71%.

Rotating creatives is one of the simplest ways to make sure your retargeting campaign is as effective as possible.  You don’t want to miss out on valuable clicks due to tired creatives.  Make sure you’re updating your creatives every few months to maximize your retargeting campaign!

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